Zia by Scott O’Dell
In Island of the Blue Dolphins, the young Indian girl Karana is accidentally abandoned in her village when her people are taken away by missionaries. Despite the solitude, she grows up and lives a full, enriching, and mystical life in tandem with the natural world, as her people always have on their island.
But what happened to Karana of the Island of the Blue Dolphins? asks the back of this sequel, Zia. Eighteen years later, Karana’s people and their descendants, such as her niece Zia, are living dull, spiritless lives in missions on the California coast. And unfortunately for Karana, even after so many years they persist in “rescuing” her.
As if perhaps to illustrate how shitty things got for the Indians after they were taken from their home, this sequel all about their life in the missions and Karana’s new life now, is itself dull and spiritless. If you consider that this is a story of Indian relocation, you’ll soon realize that you don’t really want to find out what happened to Karana of the Island of the Blue Dolphins.
When fourteen year old Zia and her brother, Mando, find a boat cast up on the beach near the Santa Barbara mission, they are determined to make the voyage out to the far island – the Island of the Blue Dolphins – where Karana, their aunt, had been left behind nearly eighteen years before, and rescue her.
And so, with a piece of cloth for a sail, a fish hook, a compass, and no sailing experience, Zia and mando set out in their eighteen-foot boat for the sixty-mile journey, a journey filled with danger and adventure – and a reunion.